Pathological gambling is an increasing but overlooked problem among children and adolescents. A previous study found that the prevalence of problematic gambling behaviour among Danish 10th graders was 38 times higher than that of Danish adults, implying that one in five 10th grader has or is at risk of developing a serious gambling problem. These results are supported by studies in other countries.
The Research Clinic on Gambling Disorders has initiated a project on prevention of problem gambling among public municipal school pupils in collaboration with the Department for Children and Young People, Municipality of Aarhus. The purpose of the project is to assess the prevalence of problem gambling among students in 6th – 9th grades and to increase their awareness of gambling to prevent later development of problem gambling.
The methods and materials used in the project are developed at The International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at McGill University in Canada, one of the world's leading centres for the prevention of problem gambling and gambling addiction among children and adolescents. These methods have shown good effect in other countries. The materials include a PowerPoint workshop, a training manual, and a number of questionnaires used for screening and effect measurements.
The data collected from the schools will be correlated with background data from the Municipality of Aarhus to study the association between problem gambling and risk factors such as grade levels, absenteeism and general health status. Studies from other countries have shown that problem gambling may affect school performance negatively.